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Re: Plan of Work

From: Dave Raggett <dsr@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 1997 11:51:03 -0400 ()
To: Al Gilman <asgilman@access.digex.net>
cc: HC team <w3c-wai-hc@w3.org>, chris@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.WNT.3.95.970926112244.-259965G-100000@hazel.hpl.hp.com>
On Fri, 26 Sep 1997, Al Gilman wrote:

> 
> Let me soften what I just said.
> 
> [Daniel and I have been debating whether the WAI team should
> prepare change proposals as fully-formed change pages or as some
> kind of a more strategic "change directive."]
> 
> What I am really reacting to is the sense that the HTML team, at
> the very least, is extremely tired of making changes by now.  For
> us to want to change things at this late hour, it will make it
> easier for them to cooperate with us if we can do what we can to
> make our suggested changes meet the quality standards of
> fully-tested, plug-and-go drop-in components for their document.
> 
> That said, I have to face reality.
> 
> Change pages are a solution; what's the requirement?  Perhaps the
> requirement is that we should be talking to the editors of the
> HTML and CSS documents to learn what would make their lives
> easier and try to conform the format we put our change proposals
> in as closely to what they want as we can.

As an editor of the HTML specs, I can tell you the main issue in
making changes is in having a well specified proposal, that is
supported by a very clear case -- one that people will have trouble
in finding holes. The case will be much harder to make if it impacts
the code for the Windows browsers. Adding one or two attributes for
the benefit of non-graphical browsers is comparatively cheap
provided the additions don't effect rendering for Windows browsers.

After a phone conversation with Hakon, I believe that the list
bullet issue can be resolved without changes to HTML or CSS2 as the
latter will allow authors to use class values to "insert" text
into the flow for say speech output.

The media issue for Braille is something I think we can defer
given the future proofing in the current spec.

The HTML4 spec now includes the longdesc attribute for IMG
which will allow us to use it in accessibility guidelines.
The alt attrbute is now required for IMG and AREA.

The most important issue for me now is getting closure on
accessibility mechanisms for tables. I encourage people on
this list to review:

   http://www.w3.org/TR/WD-html40/struct/tables.html

My goal is to ensure that both HTML4 and CSS2 provide effective
support for rendering tables to speech and to Braille. Your
expertise in reviewing the current proposals is essential.

The current proposal relates only to tables being used to present
tabular information in which data cells are associated with headings
that categorise the data.  In a nutshell the idea is to provide a
means to speak headings for each data cell using abbreviations if
provided. For large tables it should be possible to provide a
hierarchical view of the table that allows nodes to be expanded or
collapsed.  Tables should be provided with a summary that goes
beyond the caption to offer a structural summary for non-visual
users. 

One idea that is still missing is to give authors control over
suggested reading order for non-visual users, when a table is being
used **purely for layout purposes**. This seems to me to be
something you should be able to express in the HTML markup, and
inappropriate for style sheets. 

p.s. I will be travelling all of next week and may not be
able to get to email during this time.

Regards,

-- Dave Raggett <dsr@w3.org> http://www.w3.org/People/Raggett
phone: +44 122 578 2521 (office) +44 385 320 444 (gsm mobile)
World Wide Web Consortium (on assignment from HP Labs)
Received on Friday, 26 September 1997 11:53:09 UTC

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